Dortmund’s Aubameyang Set for China Switch as Evergrande Win Race for Striker With €72m Bid

​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s switch to Guangzhou Evergrande is on the cusp of completion after a €72m deal was reportedly agreed.

The Borussia Dortmund striker had appeared to be set to leave Germany and head to the Far East after Sky Sports claimed that a deal had now been struck between the two clubs.

Aubameyang had been the subject of growing interest from Evergrande and their rivals Beijing Guoan over the past week, and it now seems that his decision has been made about which one the Gabon international wishes to join.

The deal had supposedly be in jeopardy over the growing furore in China over the amount of highly-paid foreign stars in the top division, with the relevant authorities stating that a salary cap was required to prevent the extortionate wages of transfer fees being paid.

Borussia Dortmund v SV Werder Bremen - Bundesliga

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Guoan had accused Evergrande of stealing Aubameyang from under their noses after the former had tabled a £64m bid for the goalscorer last week, and it is unclear whether they will complain to the Chinese FA over this particular move.

Aubameyang has fired in 21 goals in just 23 games for Dortmund so far this term and had attracted the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid in the past 18  months as plenty of European clubs apparently wanted to prise him away from Westfalenstadion.

The reigning La Liga winners had been Aubameyang’s preferred choice up until this point after he made a promise to his late grandad about one day playing for Los Blancos, but he backtracked on those dreams late last year.

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The 28-year-old will seemingly now forego a big-money move to one of Dortmund’s European rival and head out to China for the next chapter in his career.


Celta Vigo 2-2 Real Madrid: Quick-Fire Gareth Bale Double Not Enough for Los Blancos to Avoid Draw

Real Madrid lost more ground on Barcelona in the La Liga title race after they were held to a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo inside an electric Balaidos on Sunday evening. 

The hosts took the lead via a simply stunning Daniel Wass chip on the half-hour mark, but less than five minutes later Los Blancos were the ones with the advantage thanks to two quick-fire Gareth Bale finishes before the break. 

However, during a difficult second period for the Spanish capital side, the hosts eventually drew level once again, as Maxi Gomez nodded home late on, a goal which could have been the winner had teammate Aigo Aspas’ penalty not been denied by Keylor Navas with 20 minutes remaining. 

As it was, much like Barcelona on Thursday evening, Real had to settle for a stalemate in Vigo, and now find themselves 16 points removed from Ernesto Valverde’s side at the top of La Liga. 

As has not been the case often enough so far this campaign, it was an assured start from the visitors on a chilly night in north-west Spain, with Zinedine Zidane’s side’s high press offering an early sight on goal. 

Isco, who was drafted into the starting XI to replace Mateo Kovacic following Real’s disappointing 3-0 pre-Christmas Clasico defeat last time out in the league, found his way through a maze of Celta defenders before lofting his cross into the area. 

The scooped lob offered hosts’ custodian Ruben Blanco more than enough time to come and claim possession, however, the Spaniard’s decision to remain on his goal-line almost proved costly as Gareth Bale look destined to latch onto the hanging ball. 

But the Welshman seemed to succumb to the defensive pressures applied to him from the Celticos back line, and the attempt ended up skimming the frontman’s head and trundling into the hesitant hands of the 22-year-old. 

However, despite their early dominance, it was Celta who crafted the first real opening of the evening, as Iago Aspas rattled the woodwork shortly after the 10-minute mark. 

The 30-year-old striker did well to slip away from his marker at the front post before latching onto a fizzed Hugo Mallo cross, but the former Liverpool man’s volley could not squeeze itself into the back of the net after beating the dive of Keylor Navas. 

As the opening 45 continued to tick along Celta continued to look the most likely to break the deadlock, and thanks to a simply stunning Wass finish, they did so shortly after the half-hour point. 

Following a sloppy surrender of possession in the attacking third from Real, Aspas received possession on the halfway line before being allowed to turn and initiate a surge towards the opposition backline. 

As the Spaniard flew forward he was offered the pass to the advancing Wass, who was found in acres of the space on the right-hand side. 

Despite plenty of free greenery in front of the Dane, the winger instead elected to chance his arm against the somewhat straying Navas, and lifted his attempt over the Costa Rican from the edge of the area into the back of the net to spark scenes of jubilation inside the well-filled Balaidos. 

Almost instantly from the restart, the hosts could have been afforded the opportunity to double their lead, but after hesitant decision-making from Maxi Gomez, they instead found themselves back level again.

Following the Uruguayan losing possession on the edge of the Real area, play was quickly transferred to Toni Kroos, who spotted the lightning run of Bale and was only too happy to oblige in feeding the Welshman. 

The former world’s most expensive player, who was making his first league start since September, took the pass in his stride before trickling his finish across the floor and into the far corner past the spread-eagle Blanco. 

But for the hosts the worst was still to come, as less than five minutes after going ahead, Bale had the ball in the net for the second time in almost as many minutes to give the visitors the lead. 

This time the provider of the simply stunning assist fell on Isco, who had looked the Spanish capital’s most dangerous player for the majority of the first-half. 

Similarly to Kroos, the 25-year-old instantly spotted the run from his returning teammate, while 40-yards from goal, who then, with the slightest of touches, guided his effort first-time past the static Celta custodian to give his side a somewhat undeserved lead at the break. 

The opening of the second 45 was as frantic as the closing prequel, with both sides flashing over the crossbar in the first quarter of an hourReal’s via Isco and Celta’s courtesy of Jonny Otto, amid a sea of noise from the Balaidos faithful. 

Those inside the Portuguese-bordered cauldron then burst into overdrive even more so with 20 minutes to go, as following superb build-up play by the hosts, Navas was forced to fell Aspas inside the area as the Spaniard attempted to round his opposite man. 

Referee Santiago Jaime Latre made no hesitation in pointing to the spot but received a barrage of cat whistles as he brandished only a yellow card in the direction of the 31-year-old as punishment for the challenge. 

That arguable slice of luck for Real then paid dividends, as the Costa Rica international made up for his own initial error and palmed Aspas’ well-struck penalty away, albeit after advancing from his goal-line considerably before clawing the spot kick from danger. 

But just less than 10 minutes from time Navas could do nothing to stop Gomez drawing his side level, with the youngster finally displaying his talents after yet another under-par showing. 

It was Wass involved again, as the Denmark international was picked out on the right-hand side before the 28-year-old delivered a hanging cross which was met by the criminally unopposed Uruguayan inside the six-yard box, who turned his header home with ease past the flailing Los Blancos shot-stopper. 

But the late drama was far from over, as inside the final five minutes Aspas found himself on the turf again inside the Real area, this time under the challenge of Marcelo, but official Latre waved protests away, much to the dismay of the Spaniard. 

Despite a late surge, Real could do nothing about settling for a draw and now find themselves will a truly insurmountable challenge ahead in their quest to get their hands on the La Liga title at the end of this season.  



Guillem Balague Claims Real Will Not Move for Harry Kane But Will Continue to Monitor the Striker

According to Sky Sports’ Spanish correspondent Guillem Ballague, Real Madrid are in no rush to sign Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, but will continue to monitor the striker.

Kane has been nothing short of a revelation since bursting on the scene three seasons ago, and he capped off a fine 2017 by outscoring footballing idols Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, proving his worth against the world’s best.

Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Wimbledon - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round

This form has seen Kane being linked with a move to Madrid, who they see as a natural successor to current number nine Karim Benzema, who it would seem will be departing the club in the summer.

However, Balague doesn’t believe that Kane will swap north London for Madrid just yet, feeling that his strong emotional ties to both club and manager will keep him at Spurs for the foreseeable.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Balague said: “I think Harry Kane is very much admired by Real Madrid. They also have a very clear idea that Harry Kane is emotionally linked to both ​Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino. I don’t think in the case of Kane there’s a rush to go anywhere, and in the case of Real Madrid it’s one to monitor.”

While Balague didn’t believe that Kane will be a primary target for Madrid, he provided some insight into who he thought that ​Real will move in for when the summer transfer window opens.

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“I’m not sure [Kane] he will be an immediate target,” continued Balague. “For them, [Eden] Hazard and [Thibaut] Courtois will be top targets in the summer.”

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On the other hand, it has been reported by Express Sport that Madrid are ready to cut their losses and sell Gareth Bale, who have grown tired of the Welshman’s injury problems. 


Real Madrid Boss Zinedine Zidane Made Players Run Up & Down Stairs of the Bernabeu on New Year’s Eve

There was no excessive partying in the Real Madrid camp on New Year’s Eve. 

Coach Zinedine Zidane, according to  Marca, forced his players to run up and down the steep stairs of the Bernabeu after their training session had concluded.

It was not an enviable task even for the most athletic members of the squad: with 81,000 seats, ​Real Madrid’s stadium is one of Europe’s biggest.


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Zidane and fitness coach Antonio Pintus reportedly stood in attendance as the players undertook the gruelling task.

They ran from the front row to the top of the lower tier, which left them 40 metres from the pitch.

And there were strict rules to abide by as part of the exercise: players were not permitted to skip a single step and were not allowed a break when they reached the top.


The drill was part of a mid-season fitness regime introduced by Zidane to get his team back up to the required level before their return from the Christmas break.

It could be that such work is neccessary to give Los Blancos an extra edge given their current standings in ​La Liga. Real Madrid sit 14 points behind ​Barcelona after last month’s Clasico defeat, although Zidane has insisted that his squad does not need to be improved.

“As we all know, until Jan. 31, someone can come in – this is the market – but I do not want anyone as I am happy with my squad,” he said. 

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“I remember last year there were no problems like this, as Madrid was doing well, playing well, but when a team is going a bit bad, as can happen sometimes, there is talk of transfers – but I am not that type of coach.”


Real Madrid Boss Zinedine Zidane Claims He’s Happy With Squad and Wants No New January Signings

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has said that he has no intentions to add to his squad in the January transfer window, claiming that he’s more than happy with his existing players.

As reported by ESPN, the former French international star was quizzed by reporters ahead of his side’s weekend match against Celta Vigo, who asked Zidane whether he would consider dipping into the transfer market during the January window. The former Juventus player said:

As we all know, until Jan. 31, someone can come in – this is the market – but I do not want anyone as I am happy with my squad. I remember last year there were no problems like this, as Madrid was doing well, playing well, but when a team is going a bit bad, as can happen sometimes, there is talk of transfers – but I am not that type of coach.

“We are still in three competitions and will give our best until the end of the season. We must hit our level now and show what we can do. We are very motivated. We have no room for error left this season, but we are very excited about that.”

Despite improving in recent weeks on their shaky start to the 2017/18 campaign, Real Madrid remain fourth in the league table – 14 points behind their arch-rivals and league leaders Barcelona. Despite Zidane’s claims, Marca have reported that the club are set to bring Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, with a £20m fee already agreed for the goalkeeper.

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Arrizabalaga has just six months left on his deal with Bilbao, but Real are believed to have swooped in order to ward off the interest of other clubs looking to bring the highly-rated stopper in on a free transfer next summer. Discussing the deal, Zidane was guarded, saying:

As a coach, I don’t need a goalkeeper at the moment. If that changes by June or if we sit down and talk about it, we may sign players in certain positions. In two years, no player has arrived in that position and (in June) we can discuss it. For now I’ll only talk about the players that I have, out of respect for them.”

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In other news, Real Madrid are believed to be weighing-up a sensational summer swoop for Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah, who has been in excellent form for the Reds since joining the club in June. 

Since arriving at Anfield, the former Chelsea man has taken the Premier League by storm – scoring 17 goals in 19 appearances for Jürgen Klopp’s side.


Real Madrid Prepare Summer Bid for Liverpool Top Scorer Mohamed Salah

​Real Madrid are preparing a summer bid for Liverpool’s top scorer Mo Salah according to reports in Spain.

The Egyptian’s explosive start to life at Anfield saw him ​crowned African footballer of the year yesterday, and his performances seem to have caught the attention of European football’s heavyweights.

He faces a ​couple of weeks on the sidelines after injuring his knee in the 2-1 win against Leicester, but with 17 Premier League goals already this season, there doesn’t seem to be anything able to stop the red hot attacker.

Spanish Madridista newspaper ​OKDIARIO have revealed that Salah is one of the names the Madrid board are looking to acquire in the summer transfer window.

Zinedine Zidane’s team have struggled in front of goal this season despite having one of the most terrifying front threes in world football on paper, which has left them 14 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona in fourth place.

Although a forward addition would be welcome in this transfer window, the Spanish outlet suggests that the inflated January prices will force Madrid to wait until the summer to get their man.


​Reports suggest that Gareth Bale could be set to leave the Bernabeu this summer, and Mo Salah could be the perfect replacement for the Welshman on the right-hand side.

OKDIARIO claim that Real Madrid bosses have “excellent reports” on Salah and believe at the age of 25, he still has plenty of room for improvement with his lightning speed and goalscoring ability.

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Although Liverpool would not let their best player leave easily, Egypt manager Hector Cuper confirmed Real Madrid’s interest in the man who secured the country’s participation in the summer’s World Cup for the first time in 28 years.


Former Real Madrid Chief Reveals Why the Club Passed Up Signing Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho is on the brink of completing his dream move to join FC Barcelona. However, the Brazilian playmaker could have been playing for Real Madrid had Los Blancos not turned their attention to his compatriot, Alípio, back in 2008.

Real Madrid’s former technical director, Miguel Angel Portugal, has claimed that Coutinho was on the verge of moving to the Spanish capital before the club instead decided to sign Alípio – a promising 16-year-old from the Rio Ave youth system.

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“Coutinho had already marvelled with Vasco de Gama and was a name who had been mentioned at the club,” Miguel Angel Portugal claimed, as quoted by Marca.

“All of the reports about him were favourable and looked promising to sign him and the decision was made to bring him to Real Madrid.

Liverpool FC v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League

“I personally went to Rio de Janeiro to watch him train and play, to talk with his parents and, of course, hold a meeting about joining our club.

“Everything was going well and everything was perfect and it seemed that things were going to work out for everyone, but when I returned from Brazil I found a surprise waiting for me.

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“The president, Ramon Calderon, told me that we had signed Alípio, a 16-year-old who they had watched with Rio Ave and who the scouts found to be a very interesting player.”

Alípio, now 25, completed a free transfer to Benfica after two unsuccessful years with Real Madrid. However, even the Águias weren’t able to unlock his potential and after spells in the UAE, Cyprus and Greece, Alípio eventually returned to Brazil in 2015.


Real Madrid Ready to Chase a ‘Number Nine’ in January to Boost Attacking Options

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is reportedly ready to welcome a new striker to the Bernabeu as he looks to add depth to the squad and competition for the famed BBC front-line, particularly fellow countryman and known favourite Karim Benzema.

According to Marca, Real are seeking a player who primarily ‘adds presence and threat in the box’.

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Both the Spanish publication and L’Equipe in France have named Mauro Icardi, a player long linked with Real already, as being on the radar for Zidane and the Madrid hierarchy.

The Inter Milan captain has scored 17 times in 19 Serie A games so far this season and would certainly be the obvious choice when it comes to filling the ‘number nine’ long term.

The problem, Marca highlights, is that Icardi is tied down to a lengthy contract in Milan – due to run until 2021 – and the Nerazzurri are trying to extend it longer still. The potential price quoted is €100m, which would put the Argentine among the most five most expensive players ever.


Tottenham talisman Harry Kane, scorer of a world leading 56 goals in 2017, is another target. He would also come with an enormous price tag and there are doubts over how he might adapt to Spanish football, famously so different to England.

RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner is also an option. Marca points out the problems he has had with his ears – the German complained of dizziness during a particularly loud Champions League encounter against Besiktas earlier this season.

Alexis Sanchez, available as a free agent at the end of the season, or for likely less than €40m this month, completes the possible targets. It may be that the former Barcelona star is more attainable if only because current club Arsenal would probably rather sell to Real than help strengthen domestic rivals Manchester City.

Despite his potential problems, Marca names Werner as the most likely to join Real in January.


Spanish Report Claims Arsenal Desperate to Sign Real Madrid Ace as They Plan for Life After Sanchez

​Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Real Madrid forward Lucas Vazquez, as they begin to prepare for life after Alexis Sanchez.

Arsene Wenger is looking for a replacement for Sanchez and the Gunners boss feels that Vazquez could be an ideal replacement for the Chilean.

The Real Madrid forward has made 13 appearances in La Liga and has found himself frustrated by the lack of game time with Los Blancos.


Spanish outlet ​Don Balon have reported that Wenger has stepped up his interest in the Spaniard and Vazquez could be tempted by a move to the Emirates. Wenger admires Vazquez’s speed and agility and is reportedly “willing to do anything” to bring the 26-year-old to the Gunners.

Arsenal star man ​Alexis Sanchez is expected to join Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City this year, as the Chile forward only has six months left on his contract.

Sanchez is the Citizen’s number one target as they made a £60m bid for the Arsenal man in the summer but the Gunners were adamant he wasn’t leaving and the deal collapsed.

Wenger has already done his first piece of business by bringing in Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos, and will be looking to bring in Vazquez as they attempt to strengthen their squad in a bid to climb into the top-four of the Premier League table.

German midfielder Mesut Ozil is another player who looks set to depart the Gunners as his contract is also up in the summer.

It will come as some relief to Arsenal fans that Vazquez is open to a move to the Premier League, as they begin to look for replacements for their key players.

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The Gunners turn their attention to an away trip to Championship side Nottingham Forest on Sunday in the FA Cup. 


Real Madrid Confirm Captain Sergio Ramos Has Been Sidelined With Calf Injury

Real Madrid have confirmed that club captain Sergio Ramos has been ruled out of action with a calf injury, explaining that his situation will ‘continue to be assessed’ rather than offering a definitive timeframe for his expected recovery.

Ramos was forced to miss three games in La Liga, the Champions League and Copa del Rey in November as a result of a gruesome broken nose and was more recently missing for the 5-0 win over Sevilla due to a red card he was shown against Athletic Bilbao the previous week.

Athletic Club v Real Madrid - La Liga

It could be that Ramos’s absence presents Jesus Vallejo, who celebrates his 21st birthday today, an opportunity to start a few more games.

The young centre-back deputised for Ramos in the aforementioned game against Sevilla, while also being named in the line-ups for La Liga games against Malaga and Las Palmas in November, his only other La Liga appearances of the season so far.

Real are due to face Celta Vigo when La Liga resumes this weekend following the winter break, with further games against Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia before the end of the month.


Los Blancos fans and staff will be praying that Ramos is fit enough to return for the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against a rampant Paris Saint-Germain on February 14.